W H A T W E B E L I E
St. James' Church History
Hammondsport, New York
First Episcopal Worship Service by a regular clergyman in this area,
the result of efforts by Mrs. Elizabeth Hull Townsend, held in Bath,
the Rev. William Bostwick officiating. Rev. Bostwick was busy
organizing new parishes including Bath, Penn Yan and Hammondsport.
1829- St. James' Parish, Hammondsport,
officially organized. First Rector: Rev. William Bostwick. He perceived
that this region would be ideal for the cultivation of grapes, brought
in and planted the first vines, and so began the story of Wine Country,
1833- First of three church
buildings consecrated by Bishop Onderdonk- a graceful wooden structure
of medium size.
church building de-consecrated and moved across Main Street. It became
the Masonic Temple and still stands as a handsome reminder of our past.
(see picture 1)
of three church buildings consecrated by Bishop Coxe- a large wooden
structure. (see picture
1894- Second building burned
to the ground, its spire having been struck by lightning late one night
and the local fire engine having failed at a critical moment. The Rector,
the Rev. Thomas Duck, rescued the brass communion desk, the communion
vessels, some altar vases, and the wooden hymn board, all of which
are still in use today in the present building.
and present church building, a large stone structure (see picture
3 and picture 4) completed
and consecrated by the same Bishop Coxe. The architect, W. H. Archer
of Buffalo, NY, combined materials and design to produce a building
that most of us would recognize at once as Episcopal, especially with
the main doors painted Episcopal red.
The cornerstone contains documents formerly in the cornerstone of the
second building plus an 1886 Prayer Book, an 1874 Hymnal, numerous
photographs, and the names of the Rector (Rev Duck), Wardens, Vestry
members and Building Committee members.
1950's-1980's - Complete renovation
of the Undercroft- dining room, kitchen, office and restrooms. Also
a new Sunday School room, as a memorial to Dean Frey. Renovation of
the Sacristy as a memorial to Louise Hunn, with a new free-standing
altar built as a gift of time and talent by parishioner Ed Tyler.
building made handicapped-accessible after a successful fundraising
drive. The side steps into the tower were removed, an elevator was
installed, and a new tower entrance
with tower staircase were created.
Sound equipment was added for the hearing-impaired. A new arched stained-glass
window was created and installed in the tower above the side entrance.
The window, presented to the church as a memorial to Gladys Champlin
Doherty, is graced by symbols of local significance, including Keuka
Lake, native grapes, and a vintage Glenn Curtiss aeroplane piloted
by Mrs. Doherty's husband, a pioneer aviator. A "new" church
organ (actually a grand
& Hastings in fine condition), was found by parishioner Gregg Learned
and installed by Peckham & Son of Breesport, NY.
2003 - Major renovation
to interior of sanctuary with much hand-crafted woodwork by parishioner
2008 - parishioner Gerald Lange published a book of photographs called The
Windows and Sanctuary of St. James' Episcopal Church .
of the undercroft, including Fellowship Hall, kitchen, multi-purpose
room, church office, heating and AC utilities.
2021 - New
video system and cams Installed to
live-stream and record all services - see examples
TO MAIN FLOOR & UNDERCROFT
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